The 12 Best Shoes for Kayaking in 2021

Kayaking is an adventurous activity but not without the right gear. One of the essentials you will need is the best shoes for kayaking.

Now, you should know that there are numerous options to choose from so picking the right pair can be stressful. In that regard, you want the shoes you pick to be:

  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Lightweight

The Best Shoes for Kayaking in 2021

1. ALEADER Men’s Out venture Water Shoes

Being in shoes for a long time can cause injury to your feet. This may be the reason behind Aleader designing their shoes with a ComforDry sockliner to keep your feet comfortable.

The upper part of these shoes is made of mesh which is said to be breathable to allow for proper air movement to maintain the right temperature of your feet. These shoes seem like what you need for a long marine expedition.

Key Features

The men’s shoes have a Solyte midsole purported by the manufacturer to be of less weight for comfort. In addition, the midsole offers support to your feet efficiently when you walk.

The synthetic sole on these shoes is said to be suitable for wet slippery conditions since it provides good traction. However, some customers have reported that pebbles and rock particles get under the sole, resulting in discomfort.

Pros

  • Synthetic sole
  • Quick-drying material
  • Comfortable sockliner
  • Breathable upper mesh

Cons

  • Sole collects pebbles

2. Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Acro Water Shoe

Have you been combing the market for shoes that you can wear for long and your feet retain a good odor? Well, Merrell seems to have the right shoes since their product uses M Select FRESH technology that is said to help fight bad odor.

You can wear and remove these shoes with ease because of the heel pull loop. Moreover, the shoes are said to be light in weight and comfortable to wear for long hours, making them seem like a good choice for kayaking.

Key Features

With a molded TPU counter, these shoes are said to be more stable. Besides that, the shoes may fit since they have Merrell Omni-Fit lacing system so you can adjust them to your preference.

The upper side of these shoes has a breathable mesh to allow air to circulate. Unfortunately, the breathable mesh is said to let in sand particles which can be a nuisance to your feet.

Pros

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Odor-preventing features
  • Breathable upper mesh
  • Protective midsole

Cons

  • Sand gets in through the upper mesh

3. Northside Unisex Brille II Water Shoe

Your toes shall be safe when you have these Northside Unisex Brille II shoes on. The unisex shoes have toe guard to keep your feet safe, should you accidentally knock them against rocks or tree stumps.

The synthetic sole is meant to have enough traction for wet slippery surfaces. As such, these shoes seem like a good choice for kayaking.

Key Features

The insoles of these shoes are made of EVA. Apart from being of less weight, they are said to be comfortable while providing cushioning for your feet.

According to the manufacturer, these shoes are quick-drying. However, some customers disagree because the shoes they received after purchase take so long to dry after being washed despite put out to dry.

Pros

  • EVA insole
  • Synthetic sole
  • Light in weight
  • Toe guard for safety

Cons

  • Take long to dry

4. NRS Boundary Dry Boots

Are you looking for waterproof shoes? NRS Boundary Dry boots may be what you are looking for since they are said to be waterproof due to the seam-taped neoprene used to make the shoes.

The soles on the boots are made of rubber. As such, the shoes tend to have good traction on most surfaces and accidental slips can be prevented.

Key Features

These shoes are knee-length to keep your feet covered and warm. Besides that, the buckle strap is alleged to keep out water and sand particles when you close the strap properly.

Even though these seem like good shoes, getting the right size is said to be challenging. Some customers have said they ordered the normal size they put on but the shoes received were tight and the next higher size turned out to be too big.

Pros

  • Rubber soles
  • Waterproof
  • Resists abrasion
  • Buckle strap closure

Cons

  • Getting the right size is a challenge

5. NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene Pull on Boot

If you are looking for good traction soles, look nowhere else. Neo-Sport claim their boots have the best soles suited for any surface and the insert soles in their boots are resistant to puncture in order to keep your feet safe.

The boots are said to be easy to put on and remove. In addition, they are thick to provide sufficient warmth for your feet in cold conditions.

Key Features

These shoes are made of neoprene and are alleged to be durable. Furthermore, the seams are blind-stitched and glued to prolong the shoes’ lifespan.

Some customers have reported that they like the boots since they are comfortable. However, some have not found the size that fits them well since the boots are either too big or tight.

Pros

  • Seams blind-stitched and glued
  • Easy to wear and remove
  • Puncture-resistant insert sole
  • Durable neoprene material

Cons

  • The sizing is inappropriate

6. Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Water Shoe

For the right fit, these shoes from Merrell have a lacing system that is easy to adjust, which makes wearing and removing the shoes a simple task. Besides that, the shoes are claimed to be breathable, thus allowing sufficient air circulation.

The non-slip sole on these shoes makes them seem like a good option for kayaking. You are unlikely to slip even on slippery surfaces, meaning you can perform your activities well. 

Key Features

The Unifly midsole arch support used on these shoes are said to be super comfy. As such, you can be in the shoes for long hours and unlikely to experience feet strain.

One drawback that some customers found with these shoes is the size of the toe box. Some felt it was small and tended to squeeze their toes, causing them discomfort.

Pros

  • Adjustable lacing system
  • Easy to put on and remove
  • Non-slip sole
  • Sufficient arch support

Cons

  • Small toe box

7. NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Boots

Wetsuits Paddle boots from Neo-Sport have a barrel cinch shock cord at the ankle to make it easy for you to wear and remove them. In addition, there is an adjustable hook and loop strap at the instep for a snug fit.

You do not have to worry about feet injury since the shoes have hardened sole inserts. The inserts are alleged to be puncture-resistant for safety purposes.

Key Features

The outsoles on the shoes are made of thermoplastic rubber that is alleged to be very flexible. Besides that, the soles are said to have good traction on wet and slippery surfaces.

These shoes are said to weigh less, which makes them comfortable to wear for a kayaking adventure. Unfortunately, the shoes have been reported to hold water, which means your feet are wet most of the time.

Pros

  • Puncture-resistant sole inserts
  • Thermoplastic rubber out sole
  • Easy to put on and off
  • Comfortable and lightweight

Cons

  • Hold water

8. NRS Women’s Paddle Wetshoes

Safety is important for any water lover, for this reason, the NRS paddle wetshoes may seem like a good choice for kayaking. The soles of the shoes extend to form protective layers around the heel and toe areas.

The YKK zipper on the side of the wetshoes makes putting them on and off a simple task. These shoes are supposed to be comfortable when worn for long hours.

Key Features

The shoes seem like a good choice for aquatic activities since the sole is said to have high traction suitable for wet surfaces. Furthermore, the neoprene insole is meant to provide a comfortable protective cushioning for your feet.

NRS states that their shoes are waterproof since they have a VaporLoft lining. Unfortunately, some customers have complained that these shoes allow water to get in and the water does not flow out easily.

Pros

  • Neoprene insole
  • Vapor Loft lining
  • Heel and toe protective features
  • YKK zipper for easy on and off

Cons

  • Wet feet

9. Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Bootie

In case you need durable yet lightweight shoes, Sea to Summit may be the place to search. Their ultra-flex booties made of neoprene material are said to be light in weight, which makes them suitable for easy movement.

The rubber laminated sole is alleged to be flexible too. In addition, the sole is non-slip, providing sufficient grip on most surfaces, including the wet and slippery ones.

Key Features

With a Y-Velcro strap closure system, wearing and removing the shoes is likely to be a simple task. Moreover, you can adjust the strap for a snug fit.

These seem like good shoes but customers have complained that they take so long to dry. Furthermore, the shoes allow in water and you have to remove the shoes to let out the water, which makes NRS Boundary Dry Boots seem like a better choice.

Pros

  • Rubber laminated sole
  • Velcro strap closure
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Durable neoprene upper material

Cons

  • Not quick-drying

10. Keen Men’s Aphlex Waterproof Shoes

Keen Men’s Aphlex shoes have rubber soles that make them suitable for water activities because rubber is non-slip. Besides, the manufacturer states that the shoes are waterproof and you don’t need to worry about wet feet when you go kayaking with these shoes on.

The upper part of the shoes has synthetic material and mesh. The mesh allows for air to circulate to keep your feet cool and to prevent moisture from accumulating; bad odor is likely to be a thing of the past.

Key Features

These shoes are alleged to have sufficient arch support so you can have them on for a long time and your feet still remain comfortable. The arch support helps to distribute pressure across your arches, providing balance and stability when you are walking, and supporting you during your kayaking activities.

Some customers say that the shoes are comfortable to wear. But the material used to make the upper part of the shoes is of poor quality since it is claimed to start tearing within the first month.

Pros

  • Comfortable to wear
  • Good grip rubber sole
  • Breathable upper mesh
  • Protective toe cap

Cons

  • Poor quality upper material

11. Body Glove Men’s 3T Max Shoes

As the name suggests, these shoes are said to fit your feet like gloves to facilitate easy movement around water. Given the toe pocket design on these shoes, where each toe has its own cozy little compartment, you are likely to feel your feet move the way they were intended to when you run, walk or do kayaking.

These shoes have an Integrated Drainage System that allows water to move out of the shoes fast. Besides that, the material used to make the shoe is claimed to be breathable and quick to dry to prevent wetness of your feet.

Key Features

With a shocklace system and an adjustable velcro strap, the shoes may fit you very well.. Furthermore, wearing and removing these shoes is said to be simple.

Some customers have said the shoes are light in weight and comfortable to wear. However, since the shoes are meant to maximize dexterity while protecting your toes, getting the right size seems to be a challenge, they are either too big or tight fitting.

Pros

  • Synthetic sole
  • Drains water fast
  • Quick-drying material
  • Comfortable to wear

Cons

  • Getting the right size is challenging

12. Stohlquist Men’s Tideline Low Boot

Stohlquist Waterware has designed their low boot with an ergonomic-shaped foot bed that is said imitate the natural shape of your feet. This is to ensure you are comfortable and able to move with ease as movement is important when kayaking.

You do not risk losing your shoes since the hook and loop strap are meant to keep them tight on your feet. The neoprene insole is said to provide sufficient cushioning for long time use.

Key Features

The vulcanized rubber sole on these shoes has a tread pattern said to provide traction on any surface. In addition, the shoes have a toe and heel cap to keep your feet protected from accidental knocks.

These boots are not waterproof according to the customers who purchased them. To make it worse, they hold in water, leaving your feet exposed to wetness and discomfort.

Pros

  • Rubber outsole
  • Ergonomic shape
  • Hook and loop strap closure
  • Vulcanized rubber sole

Cons

  • Does not drain water

Factors to Consider when Purchasing Kayaking Shoes

Picking the right shoe is not just about picking the first pair you come across. You want to consider several crucial points when purchasing your shoes including:

The Fit

You know how people say things fit like a glove? That is how your kayaking shoes should fit. They should be snug but not too tight. If they are too tight, you will end up being uncomfortable the entire time you will be kayaking.

Ensure that the pair you pick leaves no spaces for water to get in because the wetness can really make you uneasy.

Shoe Material

Most kayakers prefer neoprene as their material of choice when purchasing boating shoes. Why?Well, because it meets all the requirements you would ever want in a kayaking shoe.

Some manufacturers will combine neoprene with materials like titanium to improve durability and performance.

Neoprene has insulation and will remain warm irrespective of the weather. You also want to get shoes with sturdy soles made from rubber to ensure your get a firm grip on the ground.

Avoid open toed shoes as they expose you to the danger of getting injuries while kayaking.

Weight of the Shoe

As previously mentioned, your boating shoes should feel like a second skin. This means that they should be so lightweight that you will even forget that you are wearing them.

This makes it possible for you to have them on for longer so you can safeguard your feet from all the elements you may encounter in the water.

Height of Shoe

When it comes to shoe height, it can be either ankle length, low-cut, or knee-high. Low-cut shoes are ideal for hot weather conditions because they are breathable and lightweight.

Most anglers opt for ankle-length shoes because they are easy to carry and wear. Besides that, they offer a great combination of breath-ability and warmth.

Knee-high kayaking shoes are best for cold weather because they provide a higher level of protection and warmth compared to the other two.

These shoes have better insulation and are thicker to safeguard your feet from the consequences of angling in choppy waters.

You want to ensure that knee-high kayaking shoes fit tightly because if water gets into them, you are bound to be very uncomfortable.

Weather Conditions

You want to consider the weather season you intend to fish in before purchasing a pair of boating shoes. For instance, if you will be kayaking in cold weather, your shoes should have insulation to keep your feet comfortable and warm.

Of course, you are not going to have a problem with this since manufacturers design these shoes specifically for such conditions.

Conversely, if you will be angling in warm weather, you want a shoe that is breathable and lightweight to allow for perspiration and comfortable maneuvering.

Such shoes are usually fabricated from a flimsy neoprene layer and shaped with a cut underneath the ankle.

Terrain Conditions

While boating shoes appear the same from the surface, you will be surprised to learn that they are designed differently to be able to navigate various applications and terrain.

You may have to pass through an area with splinters and sharp rocks before getting to your angling destination. As such, you would want a shoe with a thick sole to withstand such harsh conditions.

If you will be kayaking in pebble-filled waters, you want a boot style shoe that is breathable to safeguard your feet up to your ankles.

Irrespective of terrain, your boating shoes should be comfortable and sturdy so find a pair that can withstand all kinds of environments.

Price of Shoe

Just as with anything else for sale, boating shoes come in different prices. That is why it is important to have a budget in place.

With that, you will be able to select a pair within your price range with all or most of the qualities you are looking for.

It does not make sense to overspend on a pair of shoes when there are other kayaking needs that need to be bought.

Still on that…

You want to pick your shoes from a reputable brand even though this may cost you a little bit more. You see, well-known brands are less likely to put their reputation on the line by offering substandard products.

Frequently Asked Questions

We welcome questions because we know that is how you get clarity. In that regard, we have addressed a few that can be of help below.

Can I kayak barefoot?

Yes, you can. Actually, it is more fun to do it that way. However, you need kayaking shoes to protect your feet from injuries and elements.

Can I wear flip-flops while kayaking?

You can always do whatever you like but wearing flip-flops while angling is not advisable. This is because they are likely to slip off your feet and expose them to things like rocks, which may injure you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that flip-flops tend to be slippery and the last thing you want is to slip and fall.

WilI get wet kayaking?

You definitely will even if it is just from a little water splash from the surface. To prevent this, you can always wear a cagoule or dry top.

Best Shoes for Kayaking: Verdict

Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Acro Water Shoe is our best pair of shoes for kayaking. They offer the best stability and comfort overall. Besides that, these shoes are designed to keep your feet smelling fresh.

Final Thoughts

It is impossible to predict where your angling escapades might land you. As such, you always want to be ready by purchasing a boating shoe that will cover you irrespective of prevailing conditions.

With this guide at your disposal, there is no reason why you should find it hard to pick a pair of suitable kayaking shoes.

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